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John Ikuma’s Stop Motion Magazine Puppet Making Tutorials

January 28, 2011

As you remember in our last Stop Motion Works episode :) , we focused on a few Stop Motionists/Artists and their how-to stop motion puppet making videos. Here is another generous contributor in spreading the stop motion knowledge. None other than our Stop Motion Animaton activist, animator, artist, technician, puppet maker, videoographer & documentarian…. John Ikuma. He is also the founder of Stop Motion Magazine. John is one of the few who is very much immersed for the Stop Motion cause …. significantly keeping our unique Animation Art & Craft out there in the public consciousness. I have spotlighted John before with reference to his inprogress documentary specifically on the Stop Motion movement in the Los Angeles area. The documentary is titled, ‘In the Shadows of Light‘. We all were pleased when John reached his funding goal for this documentary with the help of some contributors in the Stop Motion community. Let’s hope that will help him some with the production budget. You can go to his website for periodic updates about it (SMM link is listed below).

Back to the tutorial’s here by John. They take you from the creation of the wire armature to the finished skinned puppet. The only step not shown, is the painting of the puppet. Also, there is one difference with John’s tutorials. He is not doing a puppet build-up method, but instead, casting the puppet in the bakeable foam latex. You also have to first sculpt the puppet in clay, then mold it. All this takes some practice and can be more involved technique for the beginner. Anyway, I do not suggest newbies do the foam cast latex method yet. Walk before you run and first learn how to make some puppets using the build-up technique.

All the tutorials shown so far demonstrate the different methods the Stop Motion Craftspersons construct the wire skeleton armature. These puppet fabrication methods also apply to the more advanced Jointed Stop Motion Armatures. The difference is, before you embed the jointed armature into the wet thick whipped foam latex, you first need to spray paint seal the armature to protect the joints & metal parts so that they will not rust and/or oxidize. Another thing, when John fills the molds with the whipped foam latex into the molds, he is using, what I call, the ‘Squish/Compression’ method of closing the mold halves to fill & squeeze out the excess foam latex material. The other more advanced method, is to use a foam latex injection gun to pump the latex into the molds. This is a more advanced method for the more complex multi-piece molds ….. BUT …. I am digressing and going off topic. Without further delay, kick-back, turn down the room lights, pump up the volume, if you got poor vision :P , slip on your eyeglasses and experience this how-to stop motion puppet creation edification.

1) Armature for Sculpting   2) Sculpting A Puppet   
3) Mold Making for Foam Latex Puppets
   4) Wire Armature for Foam Latex Puppet
5) Casting a Puppet in Foam Latex   6) Seaming a Foam Latex Puppet

References: Stop Motion Magazine   Stop Motion Magazine YouTube Channel   

Topics: How-to, Learning-Education-Tools, Miniatures - Models - Puppets | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “John Ikuma’s Stop Motion Magazine Puppet Making Tutorials”

  1. Maria Rock says:

    I would like to find artists that make realistic sculptured puppets. Can you suggest a way to view artists work?

  2. Ron Cole says:

    I’ve enjoyed John’s tutorials quite a bit! I even built an oven for foam latex based upon his instructional video on how to do that. :) (and it worked!)


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